The Q&A Archives: A Dead Rose Bush

Question: I have a rose bush that was given to me last year while it was rather young. I planted it in a pot instead of the ground because I thought it was better off that way. Well it bloomed and gave me one beautiful yellow rose. I left it outside all winter long. Do you think it is alive or dead. Will it bloom again for me? Should I take it out of the pot and place it in a sunny spot in my yard? What do you think? I have no idea what type of Rose Bush it is other than the fact that it is YELLOW! Sorry, as you can see I am a true amateaur. But I just love flowers and want to start my own beautiful garden. I amtotally commited.


Answer: Since we had a mild winter, it is possible that the rose is still alive. The way to determine that would be to look carefully at the canes (branches) and see if they are still green. Starting at the tips, trim away any dried out brown material continuing lower until you reach green.

If it seems that all of the top portion has died, it is still possible that the roots are alive. If so, the plant will resprout from the base.

There is a caution here. Roses may be either grown on their own roots, or grafted. If grown on its own roots, then the new sprouts will match the original rose you saw. If grafted, meaning a decorative top has been attached to especially functional roots, then the new growth may not match the yellow rose you saw.

Roses do well in average to excellent soil in a well fdrained (menaing never any standing water or overly wet soil), sunny location (sun all day or for six hours including noon) and since the plant has been outdoors you could go ahead and plant it now. Keep the soil moist but not sopping wet and use several inches of organic mulch over the root zone to help keep the soil cool and moist.

You may want to take a look at a book or two about roses and about gardening in general. I would suggest the Dummies series which can be found at most libraries and bookstores -- these books provide good, straightforward, practical information. Have fun with your new garden!

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